Category Archives: Crony Capitalism

Coalition Seeks to Undo Crony Insurance Tax-Loophole

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Conservative Coalition Supports Senate Effort to Close “Bermuda Tax Triangle” Loophole and Protect American Jobs

Washington D.C. – On behalf of the following free-market groups and organizations, together representing Americans from coast to coast, we urge you to support the Senate’s Anti-Base Erosion Provision, which removes an unfair advantage favoring foreign insurers over U.S.-headquartered companies. Under current U.S. tax law, foreign based insurers are able to transfer profits to affiliates in offshore tax-havens tax free, but does not afford equal treatment to U.S. based insurers.

As a candidate for President, Donald Trump touched a nerve with voters by pointing out that our tax code is unfair to American companies and employees. One such unfair provision is the insurance tax-haven loophole, which has discriminated against the American insurance industry for over three decades. The proposed Senate tax bill removes the incentive that foreign companies currently exploit to shift thousands of American jobs overseas and avoid paying U.S. taxes. The federal government should never reward or encourage companies to make decisions at the expense of U.S. taxpayers and jobs.

The Senate tax bill includes strong anti-base erosion measures that will go a long way in stopping foreign companies from gaming the U.S. tax code. It is imperative that Congress resist any desperate attempts by foreign insurers to weaken the language thereby preserving their loophole.

Foreign insurance companies are using misleading talking points to prevent a level playing field for U.S. companies. While their inaccurate claims alleging reduced capital and increased prices confuse the public discussion, the bottom-line is they want to avoid paying U.S. taxes and continue gaming the system. The Senate bill would merely require foreign companies to pay U.S. taxes on their U.S. generated insurance business instead of allowing them to use offshore affiliates to strip earnings.

Preserving a loophole for foreign insurers undermines the very foundation of the tax reform effort being considered on Capitol Hill.

At a time when companies are inverting, and the American people are demanding action against corporate tax avoidance, it is long overdue that Congress close the loophole. We urge Congress to support the provision in the Senate bill.

Read the full letter HERE: Congress Must Undo Crony Insurance Tax-Loophole_Coalition Letter

COALITION Seeks to Reform the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)

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Washington, D.C. – A broad coalition of free-market and center-right organizations are respectfully requesting that Scott Pruitt, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), reform the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) mandate. 

The previous Administration’s corporatist policies ushered in an unprecedented age of hyper-lobbying that promoted partial and partisan interests—saving Wall Street bankers, a failed stimulus package, an auto bailout for union control, the Obamacare fiasco, green energy boondoggles. President Trump promised to grow the economy by doing away with Obama-era cronyism.

Reforming the badly broken RFS system and will show that the President is serious about putting America back to work.

Read the Coalition letter here: COALITION Seeks to Reform the federal Renewable Fuel Standard

Reform 340B Drug Pricing NOW

The 340B program continues to grow outside of its original purpose of helping the poor and uninsured — this is true, despite the promise that ObamaCare would vastly reduce the numbers of uninsured (and underinsured). Reforming the program will be a major defeat for Washington’s political class. Crony corporatists and their lobbyists have abused 340B to make themselves wealthier. Wealth creation is good, but not when a privileged few leverage government at the expense of patients and taxpayers.

We hear a lot about “draining the swamp,” but we don’t see a lot of action. With 340B reform, our elected officials have an opportunity to put patients over profits. Let’s hope they have the courage to do what’s right and necessary.

Read more about how the Trump Administration wants to reform 340B here: The Trump Administration is Right to Reform 340B.

‘Eye’ on Washington

Keep an eye on Washington this week as the American Optometric Association (AOA) – an advocacy group that spends nearly $2 million a year lobbying on the federal level alone – is flying thousands of its representatives to Washington to pressure lawmakers into backing their crony legislation.

The AOA is actively looking for Members of Congress to re-introduce their crony legislation, the Contact Lens Consumer Health Protection Act (CLCHPA). This bill is the first step in the AOA plan to completely ban third-party lens sellers, such as Walmart, Costco, and a multitude of online sellers. This is cronyism run amok. If passed, CLCHPA will give eye-care specialists the unlimited power to veto prospective third-party transactions. Current law provides a window for specialists to act. However, CLCHPA will give the AOA the control to pocket-veto transactions by simply refusing to respond to the patient’s request.

The ‘eye and mighty’ AOA is not seeing things straight when it comes to banning their competition. The Republican-controlled Congress can’t let this crony eyesore be pushed through on their watch.

“Over the Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017” is a bait and switch

“We and the millions of Americans who support our organizations are deeply concerned that Senator Elizabeth Warren’s “Over the Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017” is a bait-and-switch piece of legislation that will impose burdensome regulations, resulting in limited choice and higher prices for consumers. We are concerned that the House will allow a version of this legislation to be attached to the non-controversial Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) legislation.

Senator Warren’s legislation is misleading. Her proposal will increase regulation, pre-empt states, raise prices, and limit choice. It’s a solution looking for a problem. Physicians, healthcare professionals, patients, and consumers all lose under the Warren bill. We encourage Congress to oppose it at every turn.”

View the Coalition letter HERE: Coalition Opposes Sen Warren’s crony Hearing Aid Bill_it’s bad for doctors, patients, and consumers

 

The Financial CHOICE Act

 

The Financial CHOICE Act is a market-based, common sense reform proposal that will peel back the most onerous Dodd-Frank regulatory layers. The legislation begins with a conservative consensus of eliminating the most damaging provisions of Dodd-Frank, explicitly reforming the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and repealing the Durbin AmendmentCoalition Letter in Support of The Financial CHOICE Act of 2017

Cronyism Spinn[er]ing Out of Control

Jerry Rogers

for TownHall

President Obama announced on June 26, 2015 that he was appointing Steven Spinner to the Commission on White House Fellowships. In his statement, Mr. Obama described Mr. Spinner as an experienced and committed individual, and the President went on to say that he is looking forward to working with him. At first glance, no big deal—another hanger-on appointed to one of Washington’s myriad patronage boards and panels.

Then again, on closer scrutiny, Spinner isn’t your typical-everyday D.C. flunky. Steven Spinner was an adviser for the Department of Energy (DOE) loans program responsible for the Solyndra debacle. He played a lead role in the most infamous case of crony capitalism of the Obama Presidency, which means—arguably—the most infamous episode of cronyism in our nation’s history. Solyndra—the failed solar panel company that filed for bankruptcy—was the first to receive a taxpayer-backed loan guarantee from the DOE in September 2009. Spinner helped steer millions of dollars of the controversial stimulus funding to Obama’s crony corporate friends at Solyndra.

Spinner raised political cash—over $500,000—for Obama during the 2008 campaign, and then Spinner was named to the White House transition team and later served as “chief strategic operations officer” at DOE. Spinner—while at DOE—helped deliver over $530 million to Solyndra. In 2011, Solyndra files for bankruptcy leaving taxpayers with the massive bill. Spinner raised more political cash for the President in the 2012 cycle, and he’s rewarded again with a post on a White House commission. You can’t make this stuff up. The whole sordid affair reads like a bad script from a B-level political melodrama.

And there’s more to the script. Spinner’s wife worked for a law firm that represented Solyndra and a dozen or so other green-energy interests that applied for federal funding. The public record shows that her firm received $2.4 million from the government in legal fees associated with Solyndra’s loan application. Washington has always been a place where deals are done and favors exchanged. However, President Obama has created a new normal of hyper-cronyism of rewarding his political friends with taxpayer dollars (Solyndra) and government posts (Spinner).

The Washington D.C. metro-area has become the wealthiest region in the country because the political class rewards those like Steven Spinner who deal, almost exclusively, in favors at the expense of the American people. While Washington’s political class gets richer, everyday Americans struggle to pay their mortgages, put their children through school, and keep groceries in their cupboards. The economy remains stalled and our nation is in the worst “economic recovery” in our history. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that there are nearly 94 million Americans out of the workforce, the lowest labor force participation since 1977. Also for the first time in our history, working-age people now make up the majority of American households that depend on food stamps, a dramatic change from a just a few years ago, when children and the elderly were the main recipients.

As National Review reported back in 2011, Steven Spinner was “intimately involved in the negotiation and was advocating on behalf of” Solyndra regarding the DOE loan. Spinner involved himself in these negotiations regarding Solyndra even though he had signed an ethics agreement not to do so. What a sad testament to Washington’s new normal of hyper-cronyism that Steven Spinner is once again being honored with a White House position, even one as innocuous as the Commission on White House Fellowships. It’s sadder still that no one in the media picked up on the story. No news here—just business as usual for President Obama and Washington’s political class. Cronyism is Spinn[er]ing out of control.

Debut of the Vlog: LangerCast Episode 54!

 

It’s Episode 54 of the LangerCast, the podcast (and Vlog) of Andrew Langer and Jerry Rogers from the Institute for Liberty. On this episode, Andrew and Jerry break down the Britt McHenry scandal, talk about their own experiences with towing companies in Arlington, VA and elsewhere, and tie this all in with the problems of crony capitalism!

Then they introduce their weekly “Hillary Watch” segment, and talk about how everything one needs to know about Hillary Clinton is there in black and white. (The introduce their Hillary Watch theme, too!)

Then its a discussion of the latest on Iran, how the Bob Corker deal wasn’t a good deal at all… and big congragulations to Erik Telford!

LangerCast episode #34: Civil Conversation for Civil Society

Click here to join the best political talk anywhere … Andrew and I discuss Jonathan Gruber, and how “Gruberization” impacts the national discussion and demeans our politics. We then tackle the issues of energy independence, the #FailMary vote on the Keystone XL pipeline, GMO science, and crony capitalism.